Fall books: 37 new titles to add to your reading list
Shiver with Stephen King or laugh with Amy Poehler. Here’s a month-by-month guide to 2014 book titles coming out between now and the holidays, the publishing industry’s busiest time of year.
Seattle Times book editor
More fall books and authors
Join Seattle Times book editor Mary Ann Gwinn and David Wright, Seattle Public Library readers services librarian, for a live chat about new books, favorite books and fall reading at noon Tuesday Sept. 16 at seattletimes.com.
Gwinn also moderates a talk about the craft of narrative nonfiction with Daniel James Brown, author of “The Boys in the Boat,” and David Laskin, author of “The Family: A Journey into the Heart of the Twentieth Century.” At 7 p.m. Monday Sept. 15 at the Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle. Free (206-386-4636; spl.org).
Between now and the holidays, publishers will push out a significant chunk of the books they publish for the entire year. And I do mean significant — everything from “Revival,” a scary Hawthornesque novel by horrormeister Stephen King, to a slim book called “The Meaning of Existence” by world renowned biologist E.O. Wilson.
Not satisfied? Try new fiction by Ken Follett, Richard Ford, William Gibson, Hilary Mantel, David Mitchell, Marilynne Robinson, Garth Stein and Sarah Waters; nonfiction by Lawrence Wright, Karen Armstrong, and Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn; and memoirs by comic geniuses John Cleese and Amy Poehler.
The following month-by-month list of titles being released now through November is categorized by fiction and nonfiction and alphabetized by author. Many of these authors will be passing through Seattle this fall; look for more information in The Seattle Times’ Fall Arts Guide, published last Wednesday and now available at seattletimes.com/entertainment.
“Perfidia” by James Ellroy (Knopf). The author of “L.A. Confidential” returns to City of Angels territory with a story that begins the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Four members of the Watanabe family are dead in a possible ritual murder-suicide, and Los Angeles Police Department investigators include William Parker, the future head of the LAPD, as well as two characters from “Confidential” — Dudley Smith and Kay Lake.
“The Edge of Eternity” by Ken Follett(Dutton). The final installment of Follett’s Century Trilogy (“Fall of Giants,” “Winter of the World”) follows several characters through the Johnson, Nixon and Reagan administrations, with an epilogue set on the night of President Obama’s election.
“The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories” by Hilary Mantel (Henry Holt). The genius author of “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies” releases a collection of stories set in contemporary England. Her British publisher says, “Where her last two novels explore how modern England was forged, ‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’ shows us the country we have become.”
“The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell (Random House). Mitchell’s mind-bending novel follows the fortunes of Holly Sykes, an English working-class girl who hears voices and receives visits from ghosts, as her story proceeds from the year 1984 to 2043. I am only scratching the surface here.
“The Paying Guests” by Sarah Waters (Riverhead). A young woman living with her widowed mother in post-World War I London falls desperately in love with the wife of the couple they’ve taken in as lodgers. Complications ensue.
“The Peripheral” by William Gibson(Putnam). The brainy, highly imaginative speculative fiction writer publishes a novel set in “multiple futures” in America. Yum.
“Falling from Horses” by Molly Gloss(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). The lyrical Portland writer and former “Seattle Reads” author (“Wild Life,” 2002) returns with the story of a ranch hand who moves to Hollywood in 1938, hoping to become a stunt rider and to put a family tragedy behind him.
“A Brief History of Seven Killings” by Marlon James (Riverhead). There’s advance buzz aplenty about this new novel, which begins with the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in 1976 and follows Jamaica through several dangerous, bloody and transformative decades.
“Leaving Time” by Jodi Picoult (Random House). A daughter refuses to believe that her naturalist mother, who studied grief among elephants, abandoned her more than a decade before. Helped by a disgraced psychic and a cynical private detective, she searches for the truth.
“Lila” by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The third book in Robinson’s trilogy set in the fictional town of Gilead, Iowa, “Lila” tells the story of the young bride of the elderly Reverend Ames from the first book, “Gilead,” as she tries to reconcile her painful past with the hope necessary for the marriage’s future.
“Some Luck” by Jane Smiley(Knopf). Smiley’s new novel follows an Iowa family, from the years after WWI through the early 1950s, from the family farm outward into the increasingly complicated world. Said to be the first in what may be a trilogy.
“A Sudden Light” by Garth Stein (Simon & Schuster). The Seattle author is back with a story of a young man and his father, who travel from the East Coast back to their ancestral manse in a tract of forest in North Seattle, intending to oversee the sale and development of the land. They encounter the legacy of their ancestors’ timber-cutting past, and even a ghost or two.
“Norah Webster” by Colm Toibin(Simon & Schuster). From the acclaimed Irish novelist — the story of a widow who reclaims her life.
“The Burning Room” by Michael Connelly(Little, Brown). Detective Harry Bosch, now with the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Crimes unit, is assigned an unusual case — a man has just died from a bullet wound inflicted a decade earlier. The body is fresh, the clues thin on the ground and the case is fraught with political complications.
“Let Me Be Frank with You” by Richard Ford (HarperCollins). Ford brings back Frank Bascombe, the funny, profane and always observant protagonist of three previous books, as he adjusts to retirement from the real estate business and grapples with the catastrophe created by Hurricane Sandy.
“A Map of Betrayal” by Ha Jin(Pantheon). From the award-winning novelist — after his death a young woman finds the diary of her Chinese-born father, a CIA agent convicted many years earlier of spying for China. Its contents reveal multiple levels of duplicity.
“The Laughing Monsters” by Denis Johnson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The National Book Award-winning author (“Tree of Smoke”) writes a literary spy thriller, set in Africa in a dangerous post-9/11 world.
“Revival” by Stephen King(Scribner). An eerie tale, fraught with echoes of Poe and Hawthorne, set in a small town. When tragedy strikes a New England minister’s family, the charismatic preacher curses God. Years later, a young man who knew the family meets him again and learns that the word “revival” has several different meanings.
“Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson” by S.C. Gwynne(Scribner). Gwynne, author of the riveting Quanah Parker biography “Empire of the Summer Moon,” takes on Confederate Civil War general Stonewall Jackson, a master strategist and relentless taskmaster who believed his cause was divinely inspired.
“This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate” by Naomi Klein(Simon & Schuster). Klein, author of “The Shock Doctrine,” argues that climate change calls for a fundamental restructuring of our economy.
“A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn(Knopf). These joint Pulitzer-Prize winning authors look at individuals who make a difference and offer a road map for how to support initiatives that work.
“Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh” by Jon Lahr(Norton). A revelatory new biography of the playwright by Lahr, theater critic for The New Yorker. Williams’ upbringing, his talent, his affairs and his internal conflicts and neuroses, all examined in glorious detail.
“Mary Randlett Portraits” by Frances McCue, photographs by Mary Randlett (University of Washington Press). Randlett began photographing Northwest luminaries in 1963 when poet Theodore Roethke asked her to photograph him, shortly before his death. Many followed, including portraits of Jacob Lawrence, Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, George Tsutakawa, Tom Robbins, Colleen McElroy, Betty Bowen and others. McCue, poet and a frequent collaborator with Randlett, provides biographical sketches. Ninety photographs.
“The Impulse Society” by Paul Roberts (Bloomsbury). Roberts, a critically praised Leavenworth author, (“The End of Oil,” “The End of Food”), makes the case that our society’s demands for instant gratification without regard for the long-term costs and consequences are negatively impacting the sectors of finance, labor, politics, health care and the environment.
“Cosby: His Life and Times” by Mark Whitaker(Simon & Schuster). A comprehensive biography of Bill Cosby, groundbreaking comedian/entertainer.
“Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David” by Lawrence Wright(Knopf). The Pulitzer-Prize-winning author (“The Looming Tower”) revisits the Camp David accords, going deep into history and forward to show how three men of widely different backgrounds — U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat — managed to work together toward agreement.
“All the Truth is Out: The Fall of Gary Hart and the Rise of Tabloid Politics” by Matt Bai(Knopf). Political journalist Bai traces how the revelations of Gary Hart’s extramarital affair in the 1988 presidential race fundamentally changed the way political campaigns are run in this country.
“Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice” by Joan Biskupic(Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Biskupic, a journalist who has covered the Supreme Court, examines how Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third woman to be appointed to the court, navigated a fraught political process to take a seat on the highest court in the land.
“Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande (Metropolitan). Gawande, a superb writer for the New Yorker who is also a surgeon, examines the realities of aging and what he can realistically accomplish for his patients in the twilight years, then calls for the medical system to better serve a rapidly growing segment of the population.
“Enough: Our Fight to Keep America Safe from Gun Violence” by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly(Scribner). The Arizona congresswoman and her husband recount their fight to reform America’s gun laws since Giffords was severely wounded by a gunman in Tucson on Jan. 8, 2011.
“How to be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life” by Ruth Goodman (Norton/Liveright). British social historian Goodman resolved to do everything the way the Victorians did it, including personal hygiene, corset-wearing and hand-washing her laundry, for starters. “Living history” that may help you appreciate our own era a little better.
“Yes, Please” by Amy Poehler (Dey Street Books). The comic genius and “Parks and Recreation” star promises juicy personal stories, “funny bits on sex and love,” and advice on parenthood, among other things.
“Deep Down Dark: the Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle that Set Them Free” by Hector Tobar(Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Not for claustrophics — the amazing story of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped 2,000 feet underground for 10 weeks in 2010, by a prizewinning Los Angeles Times columnist.
“The Meaning of Human Existence” by E.O. Wilson(Norton). One of the world’s pre-eminent biologists and naturalists examines what makes humans unique, challenges a mechanistic view of the universe and issues a warning about messing with the basic building blocks of life.
“Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence” by Karen Armstrong (Knopf). An internationally respected religious scholar examines the thread of violence that runs through each of the world’s three great religions.
“So Anyway: Reflections from a Life in Comedy” by John Cleese (Crown Archetype). The co-founder of the Monty Python Flying Circus with a stellar comedy career in film and TV tells his story.
“My Heart is a Drunken Compass” by Domingo Martinez (Globe Pequot/Lyons Press). The Seattle author’s second installment of his memoir. The first, “The Boy Kings of Texas,” was a surprise finalist for the National Book Award.
Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or email@example.com. Gwinn appears every Tuesday on TVW's "Well Read," discussing books with host Terry Tazioli (go to tvw.org/shows/well-read for archived episodes). On Twitter @gwinnma